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Legal pot in D.C. going up in smoke

(AP) Elected officials and drug-policy advocates hoped to make the nation’s capital the first place on the East Coast with legal pot. They were optimistic that Congress wouldn’t intervene, pointing to a Republican caucus that’s far from unified against pot. Those hopes were crushed late Tuesday when Congress reached a $1.1 trillion spending deal that bars the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana. The move by Congress followed a familiar playbook when District leaders try to enact social policies that conservatives on Capitol Hill disagree with. Rather than trying to vote down the pot initiative — which Congress has the power to do — opponents placed language in an essential spending bill that would prevent the city from spending any money to enact it. If the spending bill is approved, legalization would be on hold until at least next September.